[Tagging] Related: Antarctic territories

Fernando Trebien fernando.trebien at gmail.com
Mon Dec 23 04:33:58 UTC 2013

Hello everyone,

I'm not sure if I should post this question here. If not, please point
me in a better direction.

I was optimizing some boundaries in Antarctica and then realized some
countries had included as part of their country borders their claimed
territories in Antarctica, namely: Australia, Norway and Argentina.

Now, the Antarctic Treaty
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Treaty) does not state that
these countries have actual jurisdiction nor sovereignty over these
areas (it does not deny it also). Additionally, the wiki says that,
for clarity, a country in OSM should be equivalent to an ISO-3166
entity (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Admin_level#National).

None of Antartica's claimed territories are ISO-3166 entities (so
they're not countries and are probably part of other countries - so
far so good), but Antartica is, so Antarctica is a country in OSM - a
strange one whose subdivisions do not belong to itself (but that's ok
in theory). Oddity aside, I wouldn't worry about adding Chile's and
NZ's territories to their countries, but if I added UK's, then it
naturally follows that we also would have to add all other British
overseas territories to UK - but we can't, because most of them are
ISO-3166 entities, therefore, countries.

So how do we solve this conundrum fairly? Should we...
- add the claimed territories to the respective countries, except UK?
- add all claimed territories, but no UK overseas territories besides
the Antarctic one?
- override the ISO-3166 rule and add overseas territories to UK?
- remove claimed territories from the borders of Australia, Norway and
Argentina, and perhaps create relations for overseas territories of
each of these countries, like they apparently do in France

I think the last solution may be superior because:
- AFAIK no treaty gives sovereignty/jurisdiction/special rights to any
of the claiming countries over any of these claimed territories
- less confusing (it always seems weird to create exceptions on
established patterns), particularly because:
--- I believe almost nobody thinks of those territories when thinking
of the claiming countries; and
--- I think a letter sent to any of these territories wouldn't
normally be addressed to Norway, Argentina or Australia
- consequently, it may help to avoid future edit wars

It may, however, create problems to applications that assume that
these areas are states/provinces/etc. of their respective countries.
On the other hand, I believe that the impact would be minimal and that
many other common things in OSM force programmers to create exceptions
in their code more often.

What do you think? Am I missing something fundamental?

I know I'm meddling in other nations business, but I'm curious since I
stumbled upon the problem.

Fernando Trebien
+55 (51) 9962-5409

"The speed of computer chips doubles every 18 months." (Moore's law)
"The speed of software halves every 18 months." (Gates' law)

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